Bring together a team of friends, colleagues, or new acquaintances for the annual Ski to Sea competition on Sunday, May 26th, 2019. This 7-legged race stretches from Mount Baker to the Historic Fairhaven neighborhood in Bellingham. Ski, snowboard, run, bike, canoe, and kayak your way to victory while soaking in the clear Whatcom County air.
One racer can participate in up to 3 legs of the race, making the minimum team size 3, and the maximum 8. Racers can also participate on multiple teams so long as they only participate in 3 total events – (overachievers!).
Note: There is a maximum of 500 teams in order to protect the local ecosystem surrounding the racetrack (and give the volunteers a break).
The 7 Legs of Ski to Sea in Chronological Order
The race begins with a 4-mile cross-country tour of Mount Baker Ski Area. As this is the only part of the race in which everyone starts at the same time, Ski to Sea coordinators urge everyone to find an appropriate mark based on their skill level and speed.
Downhill Ski or Snowboard
After the cross-country leg, downhill snow sports begin. On their favorite snowboard or pair of skis, participants cascade down 5 hills across a total of 2.5 miles and a 900 ft elevation drop.
Next, the baton (aka microchipped wristband) is passed to a downhill runner. This portion of the race follows Mount Baker Highway north and then west along the Nooksack River. The run spans 8 miles and a 2,200 ft drop in elevation. There are mile markers and water stations aplenty to keep everybody’s eyes on the prize.
Downhill Road Bike
The first bike ride takes participants 41 miles along the Nooksack River and through the nearby mountain towns, eventually landing in Everson, WA. The route drops 2,000 ft and takes an average of 2 hours.
Canoe (2 Paddlers)
Next, the racers hit the water, riding down the gorgeous Nooksack River for 18.5 miles. Two people, no more, no less, are needed for this leg of the race.
The shorter of the 2 bike rides travels from Hovander Park in Ferndale to Bellingham’s Squalicum Harbor, a route that intersects with the beautiful Bellingham Bay Marathon later this year. This route is only 13 miles long, and the last portion of the race to take place on land.
For the final stretch of the race, racers jump into individual kayaks and paddle to the finish line, just 5 miles away. Depending on weather conditions, staff is prepared for an extra long course with no less than 6 detours.
To complete the relay course, the final contestant must scramble onto the shore, ring the victory bell, and check in their final race time with the team wristband.
Note for downhill runners, bicyclists, and skiers: To avoid altitude sickness, we recommend keeping your back straight and your eyes to the horizon. Stay hydrated, keep an easy pace, relax, and enjoy the sights. If you start to feel lightheaded, don’t hesitate to let someone know.
Let’s Get Moving
Your last chance to register for Ski to Sea as a team is 5:00 pm on Wednesday, May 22nd. If you miss the deadline, post to the forum asking to be a substitute or team alternate for a team. Type your preferred leg of the race into the title for more responses. Substitutions can be made online by the team captain anytime until the end of the race.
Get your relay team back together this September 29th, 2019 for the Bellingham Bay Marathon, a refreshingly low-elevation course with a dazzling view of the coast. Run the full length of the marathon in a relay team of 2 to 5 friends, or compete for entry into the Boston Marathon by running the marathon by yourself. (There is a half marathon, 10K and 5K options as well.)